Exclusive: Peek Into New York’s Designiest Souvenir Shop


CLICK HERE for a slideshow of the new Design-to-Go shop by AREAWARE.

This has been a season of pop-up shops: temporary boutiques curated to fit a niche with low overhead and limited availability. Chances are, every trip you’ve taken to the Port Authority bus terminal in Manhattan has been less than pleasant, but that’s about to change (at least until October 1). Design-to-Go is a retail outfit assembling design-y goodies from the likes of Kiosk and AREAWARE, the Soho-based purveyors who planned the retail space with the help of the Times Square Alliance and Fashion Center BID. Find out what’s in store after the jump.

Twenty minutes after the opening on Monday, we got the insider’s tour from designer Kiel Mead, who helped build out the retail space and whose own work is represented by The Future Perfect and the American Design Club, which he co-founded. (Shuttlecock lightbulb and bow rings? Yep, that’s him.) Playing on the New York memento theme are pigeon feather keepsakes, preserved in glass test tubes, as well as kitschy oversize “chain” necklaces from Chelsea Green of Grain Design. For the classicist, we’d go with In God We Trust‘s signature canvas and leather totes, selling for a reasonable $120 each. For those looking for transport out of the bus terminal, look into AREAWARE’s bike line – just be careful of other customers when taking it for a test ride. Kiosk presents a varied selection of simply designed quotidian objects – think Japanese tea towels, Mexican notebooks, German bottle openers – which aren’t necessarily indigenous to New York City but represent a local aesthetic and appreciation of independent craftsmanship. The Future Perfect, Williamsburg’s seminal design outpost, offers up a striking yellow rendition of the famous Jieldé lamp as well as threaded jewelry by ADC member Annie Lenon. AREAWARE’s wares are more irreverent; plastic padlocks, wooden kinetic gorillas, tongue-in-cheek pillboxes, and a gold-plated banana bowl are just weird enough to make them interesting. And of course, what kind of souvenir shop would this be without ceramic coffee mugs modeled after the iconic Greek deli cups?

For anyone who’s hit the Javits Center during ICFF or made the rounds during Design Week, you won’t find much you haven’t seen. But for those souls trekking through one of Gotham’s largest transportation hubs, Design-to-Go is a refreshing change of pace and surefire way to impress with a souvenir of New York’s best design.

Design-to-Go is located in the Port Authority Bus Terminal on West 41st Street at 8th Avenue; open now through October 1.